Sooo I’ve been thinking about going on a book rant about this certain title, Out of My Mind, for quite a while now. I’ve refrained. This book gets slammed a lot. A LOT. From both sides of the fence. I’m somewhere in the middle. Let me explain:
12 year old Melody Brooks is an average girl. Average is probably the wrong word to use, though. She has a disease called cerebral palsy. Her mind? It works just fine. Her mouth, muscles, body? Noodles. She has no control over them whatsoever. She’s in a power chair and uses a machine, a MediTalker, to communicate. She can’t show how smart she is no matter how hard she tries. She’s written off as retarted (I hate that word, I’ve been called it, I don’t appreciate it, don’t use it.). Eventually, she’s allowed to join in on some regular classes with the ‘regular children’.
When Melody finds out about an academic competition, she decides to try out. The teacher holding try outs gives some pretty insane questions. While other students in the class get notably high scores, she gets every single question right. Their reactions? Horrible. The teacher says “If Melody Brooks can get them all right, we all should be able to!” Which outrages her, making her want to quit the team. She doesn’t.
They go on to win the state competition, qualifying them for nationals! They get to fly all the way to Washington DC! Oh, but the flight gets changed. One of the girls on the team is put in charge of calling to tell Melody’s Mom, but she doesn’t. The team is to afraid that Melody will embarrass them, so they decided as a group that they wouldn’t call her. The team goes on to nationals and gets absolutely pummeled without her.
Okay, I was wrapped up in this book. I cried. Every page. Every little action. I freaking understand. I understand not being able to do completely normal things. Not being able to just get up and walk across the room… Yup, I get it.
After reading multiple reviews on this book, I’ve decided that this world is a really messed up place. As if I didn’t already know. People say that this book is cruel and unrealistic, taking a slam at the US education system. I tell you what- I’ve been there, this book isn’t cruel, I’ve been in worse situations involving a teacher’s aid with a near broken nose because of me.
Yes, I’m in a wheelchair. People target me. I was lucky enough that she was willing to take a hit for me. (The kid went unpunished, by the way.)
Teachers have treated me like that. The first time I went to take a history test at a new school the teacher came up to me, cleared his voice, and loudly said: “GEORGANA? WOULD YOU LIKE ME TO READ YOUR TEST TO YOU?” See? It does happen. I rejected his offer and got 105% on the test, thank you.
And the kids? Yup.. I’ve made plenty of quality friends. Then, I walk into a room. They crumble like tin foil. In fifth grade I lost my best friend of four years because my legs looked funny. At least she was honest.
And I’ve had people leave me on field trips. Just a couple of week ago it happened for the second time. The second time.
I suppose I’m lucky though. I can walk and talk and do most normal things. But this is one book that you have to read. You must. It’s got so much emotion on every page. You’ll never truly understand it, but this book might help a little. I’m not really sure how to explain it.